David Ortiz is so beloved in his native country that the former Dominican Republic president Leonel Fernandez was by his side in the hospital. Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero said the three-time World Series champion is “famous than any president.”
Ortiz heads several charitable foundations, including one that provides critical cardiac care to children in need in the Dominican. His altruism has secured his the coveted Roberto Clemente Award in 2011, given to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.”
The D.R.’s unconditional love for Ortiz is best exemplified by the beating an angry mob imposed on the alleged shooter.
On Sunday night, Ortiz was honored by local basketball team Huellas del Siglo of the Basketball Association of the National District with customized jerseys featuring Papi’s face on them.
The caption translates to: “Today we pay homage to the living legend David Ortiz and we continue to pray for his full recovery.”
The tribute comes in the wake of Dominican native and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco honoring Ortiz with these cleats he wore against the Miami Marlins.
It has recently been revealed that the man who allegedly paid the hitman to shoot Ortiz has been identified by police. That dude is in for a rocky road.